EDMOND — Spoken with certainty, as if explaining Oak Tree National’s mission statement, co-owner Everett Dobson succinctly laid out the goal of the golf club.
“We’re in the business of hosting major championships,” Dobson said.
Not just senior championships, like the U.S. Senior Open, which calls Oak Tree home this week. Dobson, co-owner Ed Evans and their team have sights on the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup and other world-class events that draw the best men, women and senior players in the game.
“We think this is a venue that is second-to-none in terms of being able to challenge the best players in the world,” Dobson said. “We certainly know, especially after this week, that the city of Edmond, the city of Oklahoma City, the state of Oklahoma will endorse and embrace this kind of event. Our corporate sponsorships, I think, are going to be in the top 2-3 of all time for a U.S. Senior Open.”
In the past, it had been questioned as to whether the course could play long enough to host a major tournament for PGA players, because of space limitations on the property. The course will play between 7,000-7,250 yards this week. But yardage has not been a concern in discussions with the USGA.
“Absolutely not,” Dobson said. “We’re going to play it at over 7,000 yards. We can go back to 7,400 or 7,500 yards, so length is not an issue with this golf course. And it’s not necessarily a long-hitter’s golf course. It’s thought of as a shot-maker’s golf course.”
When Dobson and Evans bought the course in 2008, they immediately began working on a redesign that shrunk the greens back down to the size of their original Pete Dye design. And new tee boxes — the longest of which won’t be used on multiple holes this week — brought extra yardage.
“There are tees out there that are too far back for us and would be long for the PGA guys,” said Champions Tour player Jay Haas, whose son, Bill, is on the PGA Tour. “It’s a heck of a golf course. They could narrow it up and get the rough up. I think, legitimately, this course has a chance to host an event like a U.S. Open.”